When stepping out to achieve your dream, the first thing that you have to overcome is the fear of failure. There is a popular saying that you have probably already heard that helps to define fear. Fear is ‘False Evidence Appearing Real’. You may feel tempted to look at those circumstances or situations that are roadblocks or mountains in between you and your ability to achieve your dream.You may even have doubts about your ability to succeed based on negative thoughts that plague your mind. Fear can cripple you from moving forward in any and every area of your life.
In previous blog posts, I wrote how emotional maturity shapes your attitude and outlook on life. Those with low emotional intelligence (EQ) will experience anxiety, depression, and mood swings that will erode their ability to be optimistic in any and every given situation. Those with a high EQ will promote mental stability and have an understanding of how to interpret and approach their emotions. These individuals will work head on towards overcoming their fears.
The key to overcoming fear is in knowing that you can turn the definition around in your life to become: Faith-filled Evidence Activating Reality (F.E.A.R). Faith is the substance of things that are hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. It is the opposite of fear. The goals or ambitions you have previously set can serve as proof of your God-given gifts, talents, and abilities that you can also use to accomplish your dream. You just have to have faith that you can succeed. Your faith activates your ability to bring your dreams into reality.
The fear of failure is the prime motivation for any avoidance tactics an individual utilizes to avoid failing at their passion. One tactic is to attempt to circumvent the shame associated with experiencing a disappointment at achieving a goal. The fear of failure can trigger the individual to feel threatened by the possibility of failure at a given task. The individual then becomes concerned with the consequences of failure that would provoke one to no longer engage in their passion; such consequences as experiencing the disappointment of oneself or others can prompt further avoidance tactics.
Failure-motivated individuals participate in self-protective behaviors that impact how they approach an event or a potential achievement. They may look to protect themselves from experiencing failure by mentally or physically quitting their passion. Some people use their fear of failure as a catapult towards attaining success. There are those who use strategies to prevent success by handicapping themselves for failure. They will block their ability to achieve at their passion (i.e. – weight gain before competition). Some people engage in defensive pessimism, “No I am not scared to fight John in competition, I am a 3rd-degree black belt, I could beat him any day, but competing in karate is not challenging anymore that is why I quit.”
There are those who strategically withdraw themselves from their passions after putting forth a certain amount of effort. “I am going to quit competing while I am at the top so no one can take my title.” There are those who utilize procrastination as self-protection from failure. They purposefully miss their opportunities to engage in their passions; ultimately missing the chance to succeed. The relationship between one's love for an activity and their achievements is ultimately based on motivational principles.
People can be passionate about an activity yet never achieve their goals. These individuals can talk about their dreams and ambitions all the time and never move towards the achievement of their objectives. These individuals possess passion but no internal or external motivation to pursue any form of success. The internally motivated one who has a similar passion cares about task-mastery and self-improvement. The individual who has an obsessive passion will show some interest in task-mastery; however, they are externally motivated by performance- based goals. These performance-based goals drive their desire to beat the other participants or the avoidance of failure based on the successful performance of others.
Overcoming the fear of failure to achieve success is a topic of importance to many because the fear of failure is the key factor hindering them from moving forward in achieving their goals. The key to overcoming self-defeat is to learn the root of the fear. Through self-reflection you can develop the self-awareness necessary to be able to interpret the source of their emotions. Journaling your experiences, insights, and behaviors can provide you with an opportunity to have an open internal dialogue that will help you get to the root of your fears. Analyzing your emotional behavior and consciously deciding how to respond will help you to develop the emotional maturity needed to overcome your fears.